April 13, 2011
Eight groups in the Iwate prefecture such as the Iwate Prefecture Association of the Deaf, etc. formed the "Great East Japan Earthquake Deaf Relief HQ" recently and started caring for the mental health of the Deaf victims in the stricken area.
Members of the Relief HQ visit the stricken area, offer the relief goods including hearing aid, and learning what problems the Deaf victim have faced, as their fellows.
The HQ was set up in the Prefecture Information Services Center for the Deaf in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture on April 3, composing of the Deafblind society and the Prefecture Society of the Hard of Hearing and Deafened, etc. besides the Deaf Association. They undertake the support activities for the concerned victims and exchange the information collected from their activities.
Chairman Sachiko Takahashi of the prefecture Association of the Deaf who serves as the representative of the HQ, and members, divided into five groups, have visited the stricken area with relief goods on March 27. They have found that some of the Deaf victims were under the stress because the TV programs were not captioned.
There was a Deaf person in a certain refuge was so panic that it was not possible to control her emotion even if the prefecture staff tried to communicate in writing. A Deaf relief staff came to the Deaf person and talked with her. She at last became relaxed and even showed a smile.
Chairman Takahashi says, "For the Deaf victim, a Deaf advocate is the best choice as they share the same cultural standpoint. We will continue to visit around the refuges as many times as possible and advance the support activities for them".